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Do What You Love and Do It for Free

Do what you love and do it for free. You will miraculously end up being paid in full.

Last week I was looking at the ocean waves, guitar in hand, contented while playing music for a small crowd of sunset gazers sitting above Swamis Beach. As my friends and I strum through our songs, I find a moment of stillness and had this thought. Like most thoughts, it was born from a question.

Who will benefit from the festival we are throwing for charity?

At first glance, there is a heavy burden felt when hosting an event at scale. The shear amount of money, labor, coordinating, managing, and marketing that would go into planning and hosting this charity event will be quite a task. As I dive deeper into the value gained by each and every stake holder in this little San Diego event, my thoughts turned from self-doubt to optimism. This is the third year of the SaltDog Classic and with the right community of people profiting from our cause, it can be the most positive and fun one yet.

Vendors Profit

The festival grounds will transform a simple seaside parking lot into a pop-up economy where goods and services can be sold or displayed. From local farms to fair trade yoga pants, the vendors will have the opportunity to engage the audience and showcase their local services.

Pi Yoga Pants is a great example of how the SaltDog Classic is not only providing the space for commerce, but working to enhance the experience for both the attendees and the vendors. After bouncing a few ideas back and forth, our crew decided to build out the Pi Yoga booth to include an additional stretch space with blankets, mats, rollers, and a painted sign saying “Stretch Here”. This area can be used to relax and loosen up your limbs while promoting the Pi Yoga Pants brand.

Bands Profit

Yes, there is a budget for the bands and they don’t have to play for free. In addition, the bands have the opportunity to promote. In fact, the SaltDog Crew has already been promoting the bands through online channels. We have full clickable bios for each of the performing groups, linked to their respected web pages, and outside of social media, and the opportunity to sell their merchandise at the event to bring in revenue from t-shirts, CD’s, and posters.

Charity Profits

Rollin’ From The Heart is this year’s chosen beneficiary, and I couldn’t be happier helping support an old family friend. After they agreed to be our elected non-profit to fundraise for, we hit the drawing boards on ways we can bring in more people and greater support. Several ideas emerged to be able to make their booth pop, from live skate demos to treasures found at the silent auction. Rollin From The Heart will receive not just a financial boost, but a community one, as we raise attention to their cause all throughout the afternoon of music and art.

State Park Profits

No matter how much they charge for the state park permits, you gotta love em…. Right? But honestly the state parks do a great service for our community and San Diego is made all the more beautiful by them, especially the coastline. The festival this year (2017) is being held at Seaside State Beach, so the permit fees and facility use permits will all go towards the coffers of the State Parks Dept. They need all the funds they can get to maintain such beautiful lands and keep them unpolluted. Happy to help support their effort.

Volunteers Profit

Maybe not in the traditional since folks, we still have a tight budget. They do receive SaltDog sunglasses, a t-shirt, and some food. But what volunteers really gain is more holistic with opportunities to bring their ideas to life, brainstorming with the team and finding ways to make concepts into reality. These individuals are the life force of this charity event and in turn, each is given professional recommendations for to support their resume experience, and the opportunity to give back to their community.

And last, but not least

Back on the beach, I find myself smiling and thinking of the work ahead. The pre-planning turns into post-planning and all the moving parts needs to be aligned. This will be the third year of the SaltDog Classic. The website looks sharp, the volunteer list has tripled, and the band line-up went from 3 to 7 full performances.

I pack up my belongings; a handful of flyers, some business cards, and an old Taylor guitar. Somehow, I feel like we got more than dollar bills for our efforts. I close up my car and return to the bluff to watch the last of the sunlight turn to dusk.

Do what you love and do it for free. You will miraculously end up being paid in full.

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